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Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt

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"Mercy," an excerpt from "The Merchant of Venice," "Polonius' Advice," from "Hamlet," and "Antony's Speech," from "Julius Csar" (all fragments from Shakespeare, 1564-1616), find a place in this book because a well-known New York teacher—one who is unremitting in his efforts to raise the good taste and character of his pupils—says: "A book of poetry could not be complete without these extracts."

The quality of mercy is not strain'd;

It droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd;

It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:

'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown:

His scepter shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above his sceptered sway;

It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself;

And earthly power doth then show likest God's

When mercy seasons justice.


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